Australia wildfires worsened by climate change

Sean Stuck and Amirah Sumrean

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Though 2020 has just started, it has already seen an increase in the awareness of climate change and global warming. Climate change is becoming more apparent this year, as it is believed to be the primary cause of the long running wildfires that have devastated Australia over the past several months.

 People from around the globe are extending a helping hand to Australia, and firefighters from the United States and elsewhere have traveled down under to help during this difficult time. These fires come less than a year after the devastating wildfires in California.

“Most of Australia is on fire right now, and it is a very real problem,” said senior Naomi Austin.

Australia is known to have hot, dry summers that often lead to natural bushfires, but over the past few years Australia has experienced record droughts and heat waves, indicating that an uptick in these fires may be coming. To help prevent these increasingly severe fires, Australian lawmakers, and leaders worldwide, are being called on to take responsibility.

“I think we need to make laws and acts that really prevent these things,” said Austin, “I know in that area of the world it is very hot and I feel like if we prevented that things like this would not happen. I think that all the countries in the world need to get together to prevent this from happening.”

Some steps governments can take include efforts to eliminate single use plastics, and incentivizing methods of transportation and energy that produce fewer emissions. The recent bans on plastic straws are only the start of something bigger.  

In addition to putting human life and property at risk, the Australian bushfires are greatly affecting native animals that are iconic to the region, even putting them at risk of extinction.

“They are endangering many species, and it’s just bad for the environment and it’s harmful to everyone who is living there right now,” said junior Natalia Anseeuw. 

Many are looking for a way to help Australia from home, however they are unsure of just how to make that happen. Money can be donated online and many celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Jeff Bezos have done so already.

“I think there should definitely be some kind of organization, maybe a Gofundme, [or something]  along those lines that set up something that can help those people who are in those areas and the animals there too,” said Anseeuw. 

Many people feel sympathetic towards what is happening in Australia, but without world leaders taking more proactive actions to prevent climate change, the problem may only get worse. 

“You need to get your [act] together,” said Austin about world leaders.